Text Notes

The opening words of this fragment have caused much controversy.  Kahn makes an excellent case defending the reading I have given here.  Six ancient sources give us these first three words in this order.  The adjective ξηρὴ (dry) is ambiguously placed between the two nouns ('gleam of light' and 'soul') and could modify either.  Many different ancient sources quoted this fragment, but it has been quoted three different ways: 1) the adjective is placed after ψυχὴ (soul) so that it must be modifying ψυχὴ. 2) the adjective is placed before αυγὴ (gleam of light) so that it must be modifying αυγὴ. 3) the word αυγὴ (gleam of light) is left off so that ξηρὴ (dry) must modify ψυχὴ (soul).  We can explain the variants by positing αυγὴ.ξηρὴ.ψυχὴ with the adjective ambiguously in between the nouns as the original.  Another solution has been proposed: the original may not have had ξηρὴ (gleam of light) but αυὴ (dry).  Thus, they translate the whole fragment as, "The dry soul is the wisest and best" (Burnet).  This could explain variant (3) --ξηρὴ substituted for αυὴ-- but it simply cannot explain variant (1) and (2).  There is no manuscript evidence for such an emendation.  Thus, the original reading must be the one given here.  I follow Kahn in taking ξηρὴ (dry) with αυγὴ (gleam of light) because the other two words go naturally with ψυχὴ (soul).  Aristotle pointed out a similar ambiguity in B1.